1956 Clear Creek Dam Failure and Flood - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-25-2008   #1
 
Denver, Colorado
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1956 Clear Creek Dam Failure and Flood

Was farting around on the USGS site looking at peak flow data and saw that the clear creek at lawson gauge had a peak of 6130 cfs in 1956, about 3 times higher than any other peak. Wow, that sounds huge! Footnote on the flow noted that discharge was affected by dam failure. The little footnote got me curious and a quick internet search turned up nothing.

I called up my mom, who is a research librarian at the colorado historical society's library in Denver and asked her about it. She does research on this type of stuff all time time. Later in the afternoon she send me a scan from a microfilm copy of the rocky mountain news from June 4, 1956.

The little reservoir at georgetown filled up due to high snowmelt flows and water started to flow over the dam there. High wind made waves that also impacted the dam. The dam was reportedly earthen with a concrete apron. The dam failed, and sent floodwater raging down clear creek. The stretch from georgetown to idaho springs saw significant damage, including a 100ft long section of hwy 6 that was eroded away. I guess I-70 wasn't around then. Traffic was rerouted to trail ridge road in rocky mountain national park to get over the continental divide! That would be the traffic jam from hell today! Total damage was estimated at a whopping $200,000. The report noted that a dam in the same spot failed several years earlier. I guess it took them a while to figure it out.

Anyway, kind of neat to read about this stuff, and yes I know its dangerously close to grandpa type stuff looking up news clippings from the 50's, so you whippersnappers respect your elders to be!

One other thing that caught my eye was a caption on the paper noting "details bared on how reds spread terror inside US". Kind of funny how lots of things change, but they stay the same and history repeats itself. I couldn't help but think about the blantant terror propaganda of today, and think about how many differernt "foes" have been used to keep the people scared over the years, but thats another story.

Well thats my trivia for the day. Enjoy.

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Old 06-25-2008   #2
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Old 06-25-2008   #3
 
Golden, Colorado
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love it! that's cool stuff man. i love to hear about devastation and catastrophe in our backyards. I wonder if Lawson and Dumont were around back then or if they were an addition with the highway.
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Old 06-25-2008   #4
 
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love it! that's cool stuff man. i love to hear about devastation and catastrophe in our backyards. I wonder if Lawson and Dumont were around back then or if they were an addition with the highway.
Uh....Most homes in lawson and dumont were bult in the 1860's, I'm guessing they were around.
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Old 06-25-2008   #5
 
Golden, Colorado
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check this one out. Eldo Springs flood of '38, flood stage is 4.0 feet and in 1938 it got to 9.2 feet!
BASIN: Eldorado Springs Resort During '38 Flood
BASIN: Aftermath

here's a cool pdf file on floods in Boulder, Superior and the 1938 flood of Eldo and Marshall
http://www.townofsuperior.com/Portal...20June05sm.pdf
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Old 06-25-2008   #6
 
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Originally Posted by P_McP View Post
Uh....Most homes in lawson and dumont were bult in the 1860's, I'm guessing they were around.
Rt. 6 was through that area before I70. I70 just eliminated having to go over Loveland pass and the stretch from Golden to Idaho Springs.
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Old 06-26-2008   #7
 
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Rt. 6 was through that area before I70. I70 just eliminated having to go over Loveland pass and the stretch from Golden to Idaho Springs.
Oh really? Well that would explain the 100 ft of higway 6 that was washed away!
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